How to Banish Self-Doubt Before an Interview

“Why do they actually want to meet me? I can’t really do this.”

Have you ever been called for an interview and then asked yourself this kind of question? Don’t feel bad – we’ve all been there.

Sometimes, after clearing that first hurdle with a successful application, the biggest challenge is yet to come. You can’t let your doubts rattle you, risking your chances of impressing at your interview. But how?

Perfection is an Illusion

It’s easy to pick up a different impression but don’t forget: the perfect candidate does not exist. Most companies know they won’t find the Swiss Army Knife candidate, so don’t expect to tick every box. Employers don’t expect the perfectly qualified person to apply. The list of requirements is a way to ensure that the best possible candidates apply, while ensuring they don’t receive an overwhelming number of applications. Career coach Heidi Stopper puts it this way: “No one who has a great career would have one if they only applied to jobs for which they were completely qualified. You only grow by challenging yourself.”

You’ll Need Room to Grow

This brings me to my second point: people never stop learning. Don’t feel bad if you don’t already have all the skills and experience listed. Do, however, make it clear that you a) really want the job and b) that you are willing to put in the effort to learn quickly. For employers, it can often be more important for you to show that you’ve got the motivation to grow and develop with the post. You may need to show willingness to take on extra training, to undertake further study or to familiarise yourself rapidly with skills you don’t already have.

How Do I Establish Myself?

Before you despair about what you cannot do, consider what you can. What skills do you have that are useful to the company and the position offered? Is experience in content marketing required, but you’ve just worked in PR? Well, you’re probably a good communicator, have strong writing skills and know which topics interest the public. Or maybe you had a very different job but write a blog part-time? Great! Make it clear how your previous experiences and projects set you up perfectly for this position.

What Distinguishes Me from the Rest?

Finally, you should think about what you do really well or what makes you stand out from the other applicants. Knowing your strengths and standing by them is likely to be the hardest part, but being able to get them across to a potential new employer demonstrates self-confidence and that you have a clear idea about where this position might lead you. To figure out what your strengths are, it may be helpful to think about your recent career and consider what went particularly well, and where you have risen to meet challenges. What common threads run through your different positions?

All going well, this approach should minimise your insecurities and remember, some nerves are completely normal. Most will dissipate in the first few minutes of the interview. And in addition to all this advice, make sure to remember something very important. Just be yourself, because if you have to change who you are to get a job, it’s probably not the right one for you.

Sandra Stein

Sandra Stein

Sandra Stein is content and editorial manager at Jobspotting. From France to Luxemburg via the Ruhr Valley till Berlin – she has lived in the German Capital since 2010 and has now found the perfect rhythm for kid’n’career after engagements in a communications agency and the incubator scene. She has supported Jobspotting since end of 2014.